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tv   [untitled]    June 16, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT

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why you should care. hello thanks for joining us this is r.t. from moscow and these are all top stories this half hour. have suspended their activities because of escalating violence denied the pentagon's claims that russian military cargo ship is carrying weapons and troops to syria. the final round of egypt's presidential election is underway this week. for the choices before them the runoff is between a muslim brotherhood candidate and i was to leader hosni mubarak's last prime minister. thousands of italians march against cuts in rome today while the europe's fate hangs in the balance with greeks set to go to the polls to determine the
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future of the single currency it's fear the greek exit could split the eurozone apart. up next more topical conversation interviews a u.n. representative for human humanitarian affairs about the dire situation right now facing civilians affected by syrian unrest it's coming right up. the political crisis in the middle east has affected millions of slipping survived
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the war and the people there are getting back to their normal way of life but syria is still on fire with hundreds of thousands crying out for help my guest on the show today is the woman put knows how to make the victims lived at least a little bit miss valerie amoss the u.n. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. there and now british politician and civil rights activist during the last decade she occupied various top officials in the british government she was most recently the u.k. high commissioner to australia and earlier the leader of the house of lords and secretary of state for international development in the cabinet valerie was the first black woman to occupy such a high position as amorous work much in africa and the middle east tackling numerous conflicts she was appointed the u.n. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs nearly two years ago.
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home is an awesome welcome to the show thing i grew much for being with us so well my first question is about your recent visit to syria as far as i understand you visited syria in more or less car two thousand and twelve on behalf of the u.n. and you tried to persuade the syrian government i'm quoting the words to allow access to all parts of syria to help people affected by the civil conflict what has any progress has any progress been made since and what's the problem in accessing other fraid of something i mean not learning un we have made some progress but it's been slow after my visits the syrian authorities agreed that they would lead an assessment mission to try to find out exactly what the scale of the problem was we accompany them with colleagues from the organization for islamic
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cooperation the oh i see we identified at that time that we thought about a million people needed help the i.c.r.c. the international committee of the red cross and red crescent societies have now said themselves that they think that that figure has gone up to about one point five million since that mission we have been negotiating with the syrian authorities to agree on a response plan in the areas that would be looked at and through whom would we get that aid to people on the ground we've made some progress we're getting food to about five hundred thousand people we have managed to get health and other supplies delivered to some people some through the authorities but from my own perspective it is still painfully slow there are lots of people who may need help and support and we need to get more people on the ground the syrian arab red crescent are doing a great job but their capacity is also being stretched everyone is trying to get
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aid into the country using them well as you mentioned do you first estimate. the number of people needing help has one million that was in early march that was in late march late march so april may in two months you just say it's it's one of the half million while so does that mean that the situation is catastrophic i mean i mean like fifty percent more people in need within two months or so it's going to be millions but at the end of summer of nothing not and nothing is done our colleagues from the red crescent red crescent societies who have been able to be more active in some places than we have they are saying it's about one point five million obviously also isn't an estimation or is a growing this is why we think it's growing but of course we're not able to go in and do the kind of detailed assessments that we would wish to there's no doubt that
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the security situation has deteriorated we've all seen it we're all extremely concerned by the escalation in the violence it is people it is families it's communities who are its own civilians it's children who are in the midst of this violence and our message has consistently been to everyone involved in this violence that it is people who are getting hurt the violence has got to stop that the political negotiations have some aspect or some prospect of being successful and in the meantime let's get the help to the people who need it well in the united nation nations announced recently that the arab league coffee and none is urging syria's government to accept the u.n. conditions for expanding the distribution of humanitarian aid to to roughly of one million syrians what he's basing it is based on your estimate based on our number
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what are these conditions that the u.n. that cough here and starting about first of all from our perspective of course it's very important that everybody who needs help gets that help. it shouldn't matter whether they're in a government controlled area or in an area which is being controlled by the opposition that's very evident secondly it's important that we're able to have a mix of international and local staff who are able to help to deliver that aid it's important to protect syrians themselves i mean the volunteers of the syrian are brit questions have been doing a magnificent job but we need to have a mix of people on the ground to make sure that we get the balance of skills right in terms of what we need to do we've now been able to agree that seven international ngo guys ations that are in country will be able to deliver some aid but as i say these negotiations have taken a very long time and in the meantime there are people who need help who are
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receiving it well let's hear more on the situation in syria now in a report from spotlight dimmy there. after fifteen months of unrest in syria violence there has only been a school aid in it could into the red cross one and a half million civilians and though we need divergent humanitarian assistance they find themselves hostage to the conflict they don't want to be hard of hearing happy i live alone four rockets hit my house one of them completely destroyed my bedroom i couldn't get anything from the air and i have no terrorists in my house and my arms but house has been destroyed and. the problem of people losing their homes however pales in comparison with to us of life the world was shocked by the news of one hundred civilians massacred in the village of houla just two weeks later another massacre to the lives of seventy eight people including women and children witnesses and survivors of atrocities are crying out for help but it is. nobody
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else as. well. the book not the only one you know since the conflict started tens of thousands desperate people have fled their homes in search of security the international humanitarian community is eager to get to those who remain trapped by the fighting after weeks of negotiations the syrian government agreed to allow nine u.n. agencies into the country they do when continues to call for unhindered access. to related to the subject of conditions where the u.n. serves the deployment of the humanitarian aid there is a very slow because of the conditions of the masters so what can you say that these can or what are those conditions what what are these conditions about i mean damascus yep ok. our team in country have been negotiating on
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a number of things one is as i say the importance of being able to to go and talk to anyone that we need to get the aid to anyone that we need to secondly that it's important that all aid is not channeled through the syrian arab red crescent they have capacity but that capacity is being stretched russia itself for example sentences made that had to be delivered through the syrian arab red crescent the international committee of the red cross red crescent societies they're sending in aid that is being delivered by the syrian arab red crescent they're doing their own work on the ground we from the u.n. are also using that capacity so there comes a point where that capacity is so stretched that they're not able to do it all we've asked that international organizations as well as u.n. organizations themselves are able to scale up the numbers of people we have in the country we've had some difficulties getting visas for example agreed so that we can
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get those people in quickly so these are the kinds of administrative hurdles that we're facing in. in terms of being able to scale up that effort though the reason why i'm asking about these conditions because i've been trafficking myself for two years and i was a helicopter pilot distributing aid you need the opium back in eighty four really sick you remember that famine situation all of which rationing and i know i can witness that ninety percent as we saw it from the government here of the american aid which was massive was so on the counters you know it was just so to people in the markets it never came to people that were really well and if it came to the it was sold to them so do you do you see things like that happening today i don't think it changed dramatically well what we're trying to ensure all the time is that the aid does get to the people who need it and that's why you need the people on
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the ground who are able to deliver it but also you need the people on the ground who are able to monitor and ensure that it is going to the people who need it the worst it's over millions you have enough people know where we are well this is what we're seeing here and this is what we've been seeking to negotiate to get more people in on the ground who are able to deliver that aid as i said the world food program through the syrian arab red crescent it's been magnificent what they've been able to do their numbers are now up to five hundred thousand people that are being fed we estimated that a million people needed help it's not just about food there are people who are totally traumatized by this conflict they need support there are people who are not able to get health care you know lots of people are now displaced from the parts of . syria where they used to live we need to be able to give them support the families that perhaps they're living with need support so it's not food is one part
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of it health care is a big part of it shelter people need to have somewhere to live. and of course. there is another aspect of this which is refugees there are a lot of people who have crossed the borders into neighboring countries and they also need support well if you would allow me what i would say according to my experience is that the main catch about that aid is that you have to deliberate inst very small quantities to the specific places and what they usually do they make drops off of large quantities of stuff and when it's a large quantity it gets into the hands of people who make money on it while this is how it happens did you have a look at people that are ready to work on the ground with these small quantities well with two capsules i mean. two tents and bringing to the to do that to the people that they did a couple of things we did our assessment right we did our well we did our assessments in seven different areas where now negotiating with the syrian arab red
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crescent to be present in all different parts of the country so that you can use them almost as hard to get those supplies out when you look at humanitarian aid in the way it's distributed in other parts of the world i mean we've had some difficulties for example in the past in somalia where in dealing with some parts of the country where you had groups like al shabaab in control there were some issues about there actually taking the aid and communities sometimes when you deliver the aid to them. communities and having to hand that pay back over to groups like. that's why you need the people on the ground not just to deliver it but also to help to monitor where it's going says valerie our mosques u.n. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief spotlight will
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be back shortly after the break so don't go. see if you're piled up on my desk feel good or than good feel. the tears are sort of a throwback and archaic part of our law. and it goes back to a time when people would lie down in their horses in the wild west and pick up the future dates and put him into the sheriff for prosecution i don't know what company may. feel guilty. and when they go out there it's tough when. you have to hope that nothing bad can. get good. but we're chasing killers and you gotta keep that in mind how does
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a two million dollar deal for his arrest. but not super hero they can be killed to you know they shoot me in the head i'm going to die. at least. once you hundred run you and i will never go back on anything else. champion lines islamists club. he took remnant of the tyrannical regime. trampled to control a blood by eighty six. but instead took. egypt. welcome back to spotlight i'm al gore and all of and just a reminder that my guest on the show today is vi there u.n. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator
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but you have seen the situation the results of the fighting on the ground with your own learnings you were able to witness it is it as awful as any african war that we have seen that we sometime. see in good films or is it not exactly what would you say well i'm always very careful about making comparisons because i think that these situations are about what is happening in a particular country we have to remember that for those people in that country it is a terrible situation and what i saw in baba amr when i was there in march i thought was inexcusable you had a part of homes which had housed fifty to sixty thousand people which was completely destroyed there was not a single building left. which had not seen some kind of element or else where i was. shown in the news as bad as shown in the news and i
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myself filmed it and the people that i have shown that short film to have been shocked there were buildings that were completely destroyed there were buildings that there was very clear evidence of heavy shelling of mortar attacks there were pavements on the road which had clearly been ripped up by tanks and there were very very few people left a couple of families who had come back to try to get what they could from the home that they used to live in a few men in the street talking to me about what they had witnessed in baba amr in the previous twenty six days it was shocking to see. you mention refugees in there the big problem well as far as i know better half of those who left the countries are children and youngsters well did they leave the country together with their parents or their loss their parents left them behind or the parents send the
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kids away what's the situation i mean we have families it's a lot of women and children who have been inching women and children who have left so very often. stay people of course try to protect their property or the little that. they have left what we've seen are increasing numbers of refugees crossing the border for example into turkey but also you have a situation where a lot of people cross the border for example into jordan the jordanian authorities tell us that the numbers in jordan and now over one hundred thousand not all of those people have registered formally as refugees they cross the border they go and stay with someone they know or they try and integrate into the society in jordan the numbers are significant are they to leave freely i mean by the regime by the by the neighboring countries or are they afraid to cross the borders in. neighboring
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countries have been incredible they have all kept their borders open even though a large inflow of refugees into any country in there's a problem is in particular challenges and there are stories from some of those who have crossed that attempts have been made to prevent them from crossing at different points in the last few months is there a safe place inside syria any place where people can go without emigrating and feeling at least safe where is there such a place where their country they have they have been some discussions about the whether or not you can have safe zones or humanitarian corridors that would allow people you know to move from one area where conflict is going on into another area you may recall for example that when holmes was facing you know a particularly bad period in terms of the conflict the international committee of the red cross suggested that they should be
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a two hour pause to enable people who had been injured to be removed to allow bodies to be moved to enable health care to get in that was not agreed it's very difficult to see how you can set up those kinds of say. to zones or corridors because they need to be guarded in some way we need to know that if people go there they will be safe the worst thing would be if people went there and then there was some kind of attack so without a security council resolution from the united nations agreeing that you could have external forces who could make that safe it's very very difficult to set that up do you at the end of the day i mean every day every day you could come back home where i don't want you to watch television or read a book do you have an impression that you're satisfied that today i did my job or you know you get a feeling that you know what i mean by a long light like you can do what you will what you want to do that that that the
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situation is stronger than you are feel dissatisfied and i worry i worry a lot about the people that we're not able to get to about the people who are you know going to bed hungry the people who are feeling unsafe. aren't able to go to bed at all the people who want to protect their children and don't feel able to do that people who just want to live a normal life and not able to do that as a result of a conflict that they did not start but they are caught up in the middle so what you're saying is going to do the situation is stronger than your personal will and the authority of the united nations or is it not well you know well well for this is important to know it if it's very important because for me the situation requires the different sides to come together to sit down and try to work through and come to a political resolution for the good of syria and for the good of the people of syria we're not seeing the commitment to that which is what the plan calls for and
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which i think the whole international community wants to see at the same time on the humanitarian side which is what i look after people around the world wants to know that people who need the help able to go. did i i'm not able to sit here and say to those people to look the people in syria in the r. and say i'm able to do that for you there's a whole host of other things that are stopping us doing that to the extent that we should and that worries me those things that are stopping you when well first of all there is the overall security situation secondly there is the fact that we are not able to get all of the people in the ground delivering the aid that we need to third is the fact that the negotiations with the authorities on the syrian side are going more slowly than i would push so there are a lot of different factors here which are having an impact and which mean that the
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people who do need that help aren't able to get it because the reason i'm asking is that for me it's very important that we look like devoted people like you even though you're dealing with pain and with death you should at the end of the day you should you should smile and know that you pleased you did everything you could because if not it means it means that the war is stronger that evil is stronger than good and this is bad and i mean. we are doing everything we can but that is not enough if everyone around you and if the conditions and circumstances in which you are doing that don't enable you to deliver at the top of your capacity i do not feel that we are delivering at the top of our capacity for a whole variety of reasons you're here i'm going to show you getting certain help some advice some some some support from from the russian government from the foreign ministry from the russian government and russian diplomats in syria in
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geneva or in new york have all been incredibly supportive and helpful of our humanitarian effort i am sure that that will continue and i've already in the meeting that i had today actually thanked the russian authorities for that for. the un observers mission in syria has reported recently or quite a convoy of its vehicles was it was dark it was struck by a blast and improvised explosive device and shot out and so we saw those pictures and john vision in the challenge of her she couldn't other human terry was workers really at risk in syria while two different things one is these are the u.n. observers who went in under the kofi annan plan to observe a cease fire what we see in the last few weeks when they first went in the violence
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did go down what we see in the last few weeks is continuing escalation in that violence so it's extraordinary difficult situation and what we've also seen is that those u.n. observers have themselves come under direct attack this is extremely worrying in terms of our humanitarian workers who have been delivering aid and support and so. orting the syrian arab red crescent we have not seen them directly targeted however if you look at what's been happening to humanitarian workers across the world who are operating in some very difficult conditions and i'm extremely worried that over the last few years or more and more of them have been targeted more of them have been killed than at any time more kidnapped. one of the principles that we expect to operate under as humanitarian workers is respect for humanitarian principles
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that we are allowed to go anywhere we need to because our job is to help those people who need the help we're not political we're not there saying we're for this side or for another side those principles really need to be respected thank you thank you very much for being with us and just i reminded that my guest today on the show was valerie amassed u.n. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator and that's it for now from all of us here if you want to have your say on spotlight or have someone in mind who you think i should interview next time to drop me a line and we're not add our to t.v. are you and let's keep spotlight interactive movie back with more right than comment on what's going on then and outside pressure until then stay on r.t. and take care thank you.
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